If you're a journalist, one way to get "fresh" story ideas is from polls and studies. My inbox (and that of my colleagues') has been filling up lately with polls and studies that are, well, stupid. Here are a few:
KIDS' CEREAL LOADED WITH SUGAR
Really? Really? The Environmental Working Group came up with the stunning conclusion that kids' cereal has more sugar than cookies and snack foods. Shocking, I tell you. They cite brands like Kellogg's Honey Smacks (ya know, the one we grew up with called SUGAR Smacks). Other problems: not enough whole grain. Really? A few of the 10 worst children's cereals (you're not going to believe this) include Kellogg's Fruit Loops Marshmallows, Kellogg's Smorz, and Quaker Captain Crunch (both original and berry). Of course the 10 healthiest cereals sounds so...yummy. They include: Ambrosial Granola, Go Raw and Grandy Oats. Now, I must go donate money to keep up the good work of the Environmental Working Group so they can publish more ground-breaking health research.
WORKERS WOULD RATHER HAVE CASH...
than a holiday party. Again, knock me over with a feather. When asked what holiday incentive people want this year, 72% polled would rather have a CASH BONUS. In this economy? Who are they kidding? Shockingly, 62% would go for a salary raise. Only 4% would rather party on (with an open bar).
HAVING A BABY MAKES YOU THINK ABOUT MONEY
A nationwide survey by Citibank reveals that the topic mothers think about daily is MONEY, followed by parenting. In this economy? Mothers are worried about money? The earth-shattering study also revealed that after having a baby, moms got more involved in the family finances. Stop the presses! They now have to think about college funds and life insurance. After having a baby, moms spend LESS MONEY ON THEMSELVES and use coupons and deals more often. Wait - that gives me a "fresh" story idea for a parenting magazine. Bet they haven't heard of this before.
NATIVITY SCENES OKAY...
90% of Americans think it's okay for a person to have a nativity scene in their own personal yard. OMG! We're talking someone featuring baby Jesus and his parents in the yard on which they personally pay their taxes. I'm all for church/state separation, and I'm no fan of nativity scenes on public property. But on your own private property? You go for it! What a waste of polling money.
TOP CARTOON CHARACTERS
In what I assume is the PR agency for Google, I got a press release mentioning the release of the 2011 Google Zeitgeist, the annual compilation of "the most popular and fastest-rising search terms." While the actual link they gave me was so disappointing I'm not going to publish it here, they did helpfully provide the top 3 list for Google's closely guarded search term data - searches for:
The Most Popular Cartoon Characters:
1. Mickey Mouse
2. Lion King
3. Hello Kitty
The Most Popular Pets
And in other news...the Pope is Catholic!
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